Dog own­ers who reg­is­ter car­ry­ing those who don’t

Kapi-Mana News - - PETS -

July is over and all we re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers would have paid the an­nual dog reg­is­tra­tion fee to the lo­cal coun­cils.

And all the dog own­ers who haven’t paid will be the main rea­son the rest of us have to pay so much.

The peo­ple who don’t reg­is­ter, by def­i­ni­tion, aren’t re­spon­si­ble own­ers.

With mi­crochip­ping now a le­gal re­quire­ment, the­o­ret­i­cally, there should be a re­duc­ing need for im­pound­ing dogs. They can be in­stantly scanned, their owner de­tails up­loaded from the Na­tional Dog Data­base and the dog re­turned di­rectly to the owner’s home with the ap­pro­pri­ate fine.

But un­for­tu­nately a large pro­por­tion of dogs im­pounded will not only be un­reg­is­tered but also not mi­crochipped.

The an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers also go about en­sur­ing peo­ple are ed­u­cated about dog own­er­ship. In the old days the coun­cils, un­der the Dog Con­trol Act, were re­quired to help the Min­istry of Health to erad­i­cate hy­datids tape­worms so that peo­ple wouldn’t con­tract this pre­ventable dis­ease.

Coun­cils and an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers in those days spent a lot of time and money manag­ing this prob­lem with dog dos­ing and a big part of the cost of the dog reg­is­tra­tion fee then was to achieve this. It worked and now hy­datids is of­fi­cially erad­i­cated. The re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers don’t need this ed­u­ca­tion. They sim­ply de-worm their dogs reg­u­larly.

Then there are the ag­gres­sive dogs, bark­ing dogs and other nui­sance dogs. The an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers are very help­ful in these cases and they cer­tainly do a very good job, but again the re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers will seek so­lu­tions to these prob­lems them­selves.

It is the ir­re­spon­si­ble ones who will not and there­fore in­evitably take up coun­cil time and re­sources.

If I have a mi­crochipped, vac­ci­nated, reg­u­larly de-wormed, neutered dog that is not ag­gres­sive, lives be­hind a six-foot high fence and has never been im­pounded, what am I ac­tu­ally pay­ing my dog reg­is­tra­tion fee for?

I un­der­stand it is a user-pays fee and that non-dog own­ing ratepay­ers should not shoul­der the costs as­so­ci­ated with do­gown­ers. How­ever, my ar­gu­ment is that re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers should not shoul­der the costs for ir­re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers ei­ther.

If the coun­cils pro­vided more dog walk­ing ar­eas or re­serves, dog poo bags and bins, then many dog own­ers wouldn’t be so re­sent­ful of pay­ing the an­nual reg­is­tra­tion fee.

Dr Ian Schraa is owner of Rap­paw Ve­teri­nary Care.

Hand bit­ten: Re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers re­ceive lit­tle value from reg­is­tra­tion fees.

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